Our neighbours have fairies in their trees. I know this because every night Kitty and Elma peek out of their window and we can see the lights in the magnolia tree. It must be fairies, mustn’t it?
There’s a lovely openness to their imagination at this age; anything really is possible if they want it to be; they’ll happily accept the possibility of fairies in the tree, pixie moments, and just possibly a black hole under the bed that eats socks.
I think it must have been in one of our stories that Kitty first heard about the idea of a fairy tea party and from then on it was fixed in her head as something that would surely happen one day; one day she’d tiptoe into the garden, or around the corner of the path through the woods, and there before her would be a fairy glen with the tiniest table laid for tea, with cakes and sandwiches and all sorts of lovely things, just perfect for a little girls and her fairy friends.
I’ve written before about how much I love playing up to that imagination and letting a few of their dearest dreams come true; when they’re so simple and so easily achievable it’s irresistable; I know it won’t be many years before their dreams are way out of my budget and idea of common sense.
But this, with a little help from some friends, this we could do.
So we spent the morning doing a little baking, making cupcakes and gorgeous butterfly biscuits and then after lunch we drew the lounge curtains, shut the door and told Kitty and Elma that they were invited to a very special fairy picnic. They got dressed up in their fairy princess skirts and found their wings from wherever they’d last been abandoned and they and their flower fairy dollies sat giggling waiting for us to say that it was ready.
I laid the table and H refilled the bubble guns and then finally it was the moment they’d been waiting for, and they peeked out from behind the curtain, and then came running through a shower of bubbles.
And from the looks on their faces, I think it was everything they’d hoped for.
A little path of eggs purloined from the Easter egg stash leading to the nearest we could manage to a fairy glen, the shady post under next door’s beautiful magnolia tree, with their little art table borrowed out of the lounge and a few tablecloths and play silks to set the scene.
The bunting I borrowed from their room; two of the strings have their names on them and usually hang across the curtain rail and the other says Happy Birthday on the back and the ribbons in the bushes are actually their streamers (9ft of ribbon on a stick – they use them for twirling, think ribbon gymnastics sort of thing).
And when they got close enough to see the table there was a feast! Well a little one, just perfect for two small girls, the poor fairies having been abandoned in the lounge in all the excitement!
They started with bread and butter cut to a flower shape on tiny plates borrowed from the girls’ toy tea service, together with lemonade in my favourite mini milk bottles, and the most gorgeous pink and white stripy straws, and then moved on to little St Clements’ flavour sponge cakes topped with orange icing and pink sugar paste butterflies.
Half of the cakes were in plain cases and then dropped into garden cupcake wrappers, and the other half I baked straight into pink tulip cupcake cases.
I really can’t decide which ones I like the best, I’m just so glad I didn’t have to choose, the pink tulip ones look just like flowers and I love the mini garden round the side of the wrappers. Plus if you’re careful enough with the wrappers you can save them to use again another time.
And if all that wasn’t enough, inside the green and white stripy bags were the butterfly biscuits that they’d helped to make in the morning. It’s a really clever cutter, there’s an inner cutter that is just slightly shallower than the main cutter so it makes a nice deep imprint of all those lovely swirls but doesn’t cut all the way through unless you overdo it, or use the cutter the wrong way up (which Kitty seems to do with every cutter ever no matter how obvious the correct way). I’ve amassed a number of butterfly cutters over the years (you’d never guess the butterfly love around here would you!) and this is by far and away my favourite.
I know I’ve shared these pictures before but I can’t resist putting them in again; they are some of my favourite ever pictures of Elma, and they sum up the whole afternoon. Kitty loved the bubbles and the butterflies on the cupcakes while Elma said the biscuits were her favourite, and I loved setting it up and watching them giggle their way through. They spent the rest of the day dancing around the garden dressed as fairies, every now and then nipping back for a cake or a nibble of biscuit, and at the end of the day all that was left was the crumbs and a lot of happy memories.
So it is a big thank you to MeinCupcake (who also have an English language shop here) who sent the butterfly cutter, stamps to make the sugarpaste butterflies and the sugar paste itself, pink stripy straws, the green and white chevron bags, and pretty cupcake cases and wrappers to make two little girls’ dreams come true. Their site is a thing of wonder and joy for anyone who likes baking (my sister and I spent at least an hour on there texting each other and then facetimeing so we could show each other what we found) and the delivery was a piece of cake despite coming from Europe, my parcel came by courier, arrived inside a week and was tracked the whole way, perfect.
An afternoon that they definitely won’t forget any time soon.